Friday, July 25, 2008

Delicious Irony

"The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace." James 3:17-18

I was at the beach the other day, watching the sea gulls take off and land in a high wind. They seem to practice that which they are born to do. They work at flying, even though flying comes as naturally as eating. Last night, a comic was saying how it was a "delicious irony" that the Anglican Church, which began in a effort to get away from centralized authority, now at Lambeth some are begging for central, autocratic authority for the Archbishop of Canterbury so that he can punish the American Church. Watching the gulls practice, and watching us bishops try to practice our faith, I am convinced that the gulls are more faithful at this point.

I was not born into the Episcopal Church, but found a home here because the church could embrace such a wide range of theologies and liturgical expressions. To see some in the Church desire an autocratic leadership seems against everything I know to be true about this body. We are a broken and diverse body, not a perfectly ordered, symmetrical, identical being. The beauty of the Anglican Communion is the complex diversity that highlights light and shadows with a fearless faith. We now seem to be moving to a unity based on strict adherence to rules and order. Each of our expressions of faith have been welcomed into the umbrella of the Anglican Communion. My foot print is very different- as a woman, mother, Cherokee -from the next bishop but our lives and faithfulness in their diversity have been welcomed. Are we really willing to risk our true wise identity for some short lived agreement which is done by force?

I am reminded of the words from James. "And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace." My job is to be making peace. Our job as a church is to be making peace demonstrated by our gentleness, mercy and kindness. I ask God today to give me the strength to move away from arrogance of theology to a heart that is always ready to yield. A heart ready at all times to bring peace and make peace. I pray that we can all be peacemakers, especially the bishops gathered at Lambeth. May our hearts and minds be ready to celebrate the diverse expressions of God's love breaking forth in the world and may we be fearless in our desire for peace and inclusion.

Morning Prayer
O Gracious Redeemer,
you came to this world for all of us and all of creation. Your love is expressed from all corners of this earth. Let us rise with a new commitment to ambassadors of your embrace. May we have the courage to welcome and include all who come our way today. May the bishops seek your authority and not their own. and may we all remember that you are with us to the end of the age, in Christ's name, Amen.

Evening Prayer
O Blessed Savior,
you hung on the cross that all the world might be set free from the slavery of sin. Set our hearts free this night from the burdens we bear. Let us bury our fears in your loving arms. Let each bishop know of your love for them, and for every creature in this world. Weep with those who weep. Be with them in their hidden heartbreak. Give them rest and mend their hearts for new mornings. Make us all mindful that our freedom is your love manifest in each life, through Jesus Christ, Amen.

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